As they approach year thirty, Bush take a look back at their greatest hits with Loaded. The track listing spans nine albums and reminds us why Sixteen Stone, and Razorblade Suitcase captured so many fans at home, across the Atlantic, and onwards over the Pacific.
Listening to the record lets you fast-forward through the band’s career and musical development, which provides a perspective on just how much things changed over time. Let’s get to it.
The earlier songs (originally released in 1994, though some were written as early as 1991) are filled with dark glistening post-grunge tone, and how good are ‘Everything’s Zen’ and ‘Machinehead’? Yes, that debut album was packed with amazing tracks. Funnily enough Hollywood Records complained the record had no singles and no album tracks… one of the famous moments in history where someone failed to see the potential in this multi-platinum selling hit.
The band recorded Razorblade Suitcase (1996) at Abbey Road with Steve Albini, and when ‘Swallowed’ kicks in it brings floods of time-pinned emotion with it. The sound on this single is wonderful, the space given to the instruments is perfect and the deconstructed verse fits the lyrics well. The ‘Greedy Fly’ instrumentation feels almost literal… you can imagine the insect when listening to the guitars.
There’s more polish for The Science of Things (1999), with the sound exploring sounds and beats that could well be inspired by their own Deconstructed compilation, which had remixes of songs from their first two albums. Songs like ‘The Chemicals Between Us’ are less dense and dark, somewhat closer to Headswim than their earlier work.
The punchy Golden State (2001) was a great album, and the freshness of ‘The People That We Love’ hasn’t faded. Pixies-inspired track, ‘Inflatable’, is a powerful and emotional song. This was the single fans were left with as Pulsford retired and Bush disappeared once the tour was done.
Most of this decade was spent in hiatus, but – my goodness – did they come back…
Bush returned in 2011 with The Sea Of Memories and ‘The Sound Of Winter’ adds itself to the greatest hits album. I’m not sure why ‘The Afterlife’ didn’t make it – it certainly could have. There are only so many inches you can fit on a turntable. ‘The Only Way Out’ takes the record straight into 2014’s Man On The Run, an equally brief visit.
Black And White Rainbows (2017) is announced on this collection with ‘This Is War’, which didn’t feature on the original album, but as a new track on the deluxe edition. The riff, fuzz, and melodic rhythmic lyrics hints at the more recent releases, though it doesn’t have quite the same sonic wall they created on their recent album.
‘Bullet Holes’ from The Kingdom (2020) introduces the fourth decade of Bush, and the modern sound begins to emerge at this point. That extra metal-influenced edge adds bite but doesn’t erase Rossdale’s signature. One of my favourite tracks, ‘Flowers On A Grave’, comes from this album and it’s included in this compilation as is the title track ‘The Kingdom’.
The Art Of Survival adds only ‘More Than Machines’, more because the album is so recent rather than a lack of songs that could have been added. The sound evolves from The Kingdom with an incredible heavy tone and chunky fuzz creating a great big wave of sound.
Nowhere To Go But Everywhere
There’s a brand new track next, in the form of ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’. This track is less like their newer material, and more connected to some of the earlier sounds we heard on the record. It whips up a strong emotional vibe with a great beat.
The video nods towards the time-travelling nature of Loaded, with Rossdale asking to be sent back thirty years, which is the journey this song takes us on.
I was so much younger then
Thought life would never end
I was so much younger then
Me and all my friends
The song and the video are a great way to close the album (though there’s also a cover of The Beatles’ ‘Come Together’ to finish things off).
Loaded Track Listing
- Everything Zen
- Little Things
- Greedy Fly
- Mouth (Stringray Mix)
- The Chemicals Between Us
- Letting The Cables Sleep
- The People That We Love
- The Sound Of Winter
- The Only Way Out
- This Is War
- Bullet Holes
- Flowers On A Grave
- The Kingdom
- More Than Machines
- Nowhere To Go But Everywhere
- Come Together
Written by Fenton on